Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, is married to Heidi Nelson Cruz. The couple have two daughters, Caroline and Catherine.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Works at Goldman Sachs
Heidi Cruz, 42, works as a managing director at the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs in Houston, according to her LinkedIn profile. She graduated with a master’s degree in business from Harvard and got her undergraduate degree at Claremont McKenna College.
According to Bloomberg.com, Heidi Cruz is planning to take an unpaid leave from Goldman to help her husband’s campaign.
Managing director is the firm’s second-highest rank, according to Bloomberg. She works as the regional head of Goldman’s Houston office in the private wealth-management division, which serves accounts with larger than $40 million with the firm. She was promoted to that position in 2013 after working as a vice president for seven years.
Heid Cruz told the New York Times in 2013, “I think it works really well for our family for us both to have careers, and I know what my commitments are to Goldman. I think it’s also really good for our girls to have me at home with them.”
A vegetarian born in San Luis Obispo, California to parents who were Seventh-day adventist missionaries, she spent part of her childhood in Africa, according to the New York Times.
Heidi Cruz’s father is a dentist with a practice in her hometown and her mother was a former dental hygienist, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune. She traveled with her parents to third-world countries to provide dental care as part of the missionary work.
Heidi Cruz’s work ethic started at a young age, according to the Tribune article. Her parents set-up a bread-making business for her and her brother, Scott Nelson, when they were young. She told the Tribune:
I think it definitely taught us the value of hard work. We were used to being highly productive at all times. We got kind of competitive with each other. We probably made 200 loaves a week.
In its profile of Heidi Cruz, the Times said she “seems to be just the sort of person the Tea Party supporters who celebrate her husband’s anti-establishment positions love to hate.” But Heidi told the Times that she is one half of a “great team,” and that the Democrats were making her background an issue.
2. The Couple Met While Working for George W. Bush’s Campaign
According to the Times, Cruz met Heidi Nelson while they were both working as political advisers on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 2000. They married in May 2001.
Heidi Cruz worked in Bush’s White House after he was elected, working as director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council from 2003 to 2004, before joining Goldman Sachs in 2005.
One of Heidi Cruz’s mentors, Claremont McKenna College professor Edward Haley, told the Times that her Tea Party-style beliefs aren’t as strong as her husband’s.
“They’re alike in intensity — and they’re both extremely bright — and in conservative principles and ambition, but absent Ted, I don’t think Heidi would be moving in that particular branch of the Republican Party,” Haley said.
About her husband, Heidi told the Times, “Ted is very much a visionary. He is very strategic, and he’s very practical, and he does what needs to be done, not what everybody wants him to do.”
Heidi told the Times she is committed to her husband and his ideals, “because I know he’s doing it because he truly believes in it.”
3. Her Husband is on Her Health Insurance Plan
Ted Cruz is an outspoken opponent of Obamacare and said he plans to get rid of it if elected president. He has taken some criticism for his views because he receives his healthcare through his wife and Goldman Sachs.
According to the Huffington Post, the coverage is worth $20,000 a year. A spokesperson for Cruz, Catherine Frazier, told the website, “The senator is on his wife’s plan, which comes at no cost to the taxpayer and reflects a personal decision about what works best for their family.”
But Cruz will have to find another insurance plan, at least during his campaign. CNN reports that Heidi Cruz will not receive benefits from Goldman Sachs while she is on paid leave during her husband’s presidential run. According to CNN, lawmakers are generally required to receive health care through Obamacare, unless they’re able to obtain it from another source, such as a spouse.
4. Her Christian Faith is Important to Her
In an interview at her alma mater, Claremont McKenna, in 2009, she talked about being raised to help others.
“It’s ingrained in our family that life is about giving back,” she said.
Heidi Cruz told the San Luis Obispo Tribune that her faith has helped her get through the harsh criticism, and even death threats, that came with her husband’s election to the Senate and rise in notoriety:
We are Christians, and we have a lot of prayer. And I feel there are sacrifices you make.
Ted Cruz made his Christian beliefs a key point in announcing he is running for president, giving the speech at Liberty University in Virginia, the largest evangelical Christian university in the U.S.
He said during his speech, “God’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation and I believe that God isn’t done with Americans,” while also calling for born-again Christians to turn out and vote, asking them to imagine how much better the world would be if they did.
5. She Struggled With Depression About 10 Years Ago
According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Heidi Cruz lives in a high-rise apartment in Houston with the couple’s young daughters.
Buzzfeed News reported that Heidi Cruz struggled with depression in 2005 when she left her job in the White House and moved to Houston. An adviser to Cruz’s campaign, Jason Miller, said in a statement to Buzzfeed News:
About a decade ago, when Mrs. Cruz returned from D.C. to Texas and faced a significant professional transition, she experienced a brief bout of depression. Like millions of Americans, she came through that struggle with prayer, Christian counseling, and the love and support of her husband and family.
Buzzfeed News also obtained a redacted police report from a September 2005 incident in Austin, Texas, where Heidi Cruz was found sitting in a grassy area in between an onramp and a freeway, with her head in her hands and no sign of a vehicle nearby.
According to the report, the responding officer believed Heidi was a “danger to herself,” and gave her a ride home in his patrol car. Heidi Cruz told police she wasn’t drunk (saying she’d only had sips of Margarita with dinner) and hadn’t taken medication. The officer said he didn’t detect intoxication.
The incident happened after the Cruzes had been living apart, with Ted in Texas as solicitor general and Heidi at the White House, working at the National Security Council reporting directly to Condoleezza Rice, according to Buzzfeed. She then returned to Texas to take a job with Goldman Sachs as her husband planned a run for statewide office that didn’t come until five years later, a brief bid for attorney general in 2010.